No fewer than ten African innovators, including a Nigerian have developed practical solutions to some of the continent’s most intractable problems.
Chosen from more than 900 applications from 45 countries, the finalists for the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) 2013 provided practical examples of Africa’s investment potential.
The winners of the IPA 2013 will be announced at a gala dinner tomorrow in Cape Town, South Africa hosted by the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business and the Sekunjalo Development Foundation.
Selected from more than 900 applicants in 45 countries, Justus Nwaoga, from Nigeria was recognized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the African Innovation Foundation as one of the top innovators on the continent. Nwaoga developed Mimosa for Solar Powered Production which collects renewable solar energy by using the mimosa pudica weed, an organic African medicinal plant.
Nwaoga will compete for a share of USD 150 000 total in prizes to be announced tomorrow in Cape Town.
The winner will receive USD 100 000 for the best innovation based on marketability, originality, scalability, social impact and clear business potential.
Accordingly, a runner up will receive USD 25 000 for the best commercial potential and another winner will receive USD 25 000 as a special prize for social innovation.
“As global leaders gather for the World Economic Forum on Africa to discuss approaches to deliver on Africa’s promise, these innovators demonstrate that the best way to build Africa’s capacity is to invest in local innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais, a co-founder of the African Innovation Foundation and the IPA.
From Tunisa to South Africa, the IPA 2013 finalists are leaders in the areas of agriculture, environment, health, ICT and manufacturing. They include:
* Zero-Blade Wind Convertor (Tunisia) – Innovators Hassine Labaied and Anis Aouini from Saphon Energy, a Tunisian R&D start up, developed a wind turbine with no blades that does not rotate – it uses sailboat technology to create cost-effective energy through a back-and-forth 3D motion.
*SavvyLoo (South Africa) – Innovator Dr. Dudley Jackson developed a waterless toilet for rural areas and temporary settlements that separates liquids from solids to improve environmental impact, decrease the potential for disease, reduce odour and ensure easier removal.
*The TBag Water Filter (South Africa) – Innovator Prof. Eugene Cloete created a water filter that uses electrospun tea bag material to ensure one litre of the most polluted water is 100 percent safe to drink.
*The Malaria pf/PAN (pLDH) Test Kit (South Africa) –Innovator Ashley Uys created a new rapid malaria test that indicates within 30 minutes if treatment is effective. The test kit is one of only nine developed globally and is the only test of its kind fully-owned by an African company.
*The Fonia Husker Machine (Senegal) – Innovator Sanoussi Diakite developed an electric and thermal powered machine that husks 5 kilograms of fonia – a West African cereal – in just 8 minutes.
* Novatech Construction Systems (Cameroon) – Innovator Njokikang Faustinus created an efficient construction process. Its flagship product is a manual brick press that more easily produces 3,000 interlocking bricks per day.
*Mobenzi (South Africa) – Innovator Andi Friedman and his team has developed a software that provides mobile data collection and field research solution, allowing sophisticated forms of research to be conducted across Africa online or via mobile phones.
*Mimosa for Solar Powered Production (Nigeria) – Innovator Justus Nwaoga developed a new way to collect renewable solar energy by using the mimosa pudica weed, an organic African medicinal plant.
*Agroforestry Model Farm (Sudan) – Innovator Muna Majoud Mahoamed Ahmed created an agro-foresty model farm in Khartoum that produces innovative sources of income from moringa leaves, seeds and jatrofa seeds.
*AgriProtein (South Africa) – An innovative team of researchers from AgriProtien Technologies developed a new source of animal feed protein that lowers the cost of feed for African producers and farmers.
“We see a strong trend emerging of innovations that have significant social impact for Africa,” Dr.Francois Bonnici, Director Bertha Centre for Social Innovation at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business., said.
The prize encourages Africans to develop creative ways to overcome everyday challenges.
The IPA selection committee represents private equity investors, seed funders, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and development leaders who are looking for ideas that move Africa forward.
The Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) is an award founded by the African Innovation Foundation and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.
It mobilizes African innovators and entrepreneurs by providing a total of USD 150 000 to winners who deliver market-oriented solutions for African-led development.
The IPA honours and encourages innovative achievements that contribute toward developing new products, increasing efficiency or cost savings in Africa. The prize also encourages private equity investors, government and development leaders to invest across sectors and build a climate that fuels Africa’s economic growth.